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Norwich woman likened hospital stay after stroke to a 'six-star hotel'

PUBLISHED: 07:23 29 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:12 29 January 2018

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). Picture: NNUH

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). Picture: NNUH


A Norwich woman who had a stroke has likened her first ever stay in hospital to a “six-star hotel”.

Sylvia Latimer, 74, had a stroke at home in Bracondale on October 30 last year.

She said: “I live in semi-sheltered accommodation fitted with a security alarm. Very suddenly, while sitting on the couch, I could not move or speak, yet after three attempts, fortunately I was able to grab the alarm cord. Then a voice from the central intercom system said: “Are you alright Miss Latimer?”. “Yet being without a voice, I could not answer. Then, in what seemed like only minutes, the ambulance arrived.”

She said: “Paramedics were reassuring throughout the journey to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and on arrival at A&E, I was immediately assessed and treated.

“This was my first ever experience of being in a hospital, which I found absolutely fascinating.”

Miss Latimer said she tried to take a “mental video” of her two-week stay, and jotted names down in her notebook in preparation to send a thank you letter later.

She said after hearing horror stories - especially during the winter when our health service comes under intense pressure - she had been apprehensive about a stay in hospital.

But instead she likened her stay to a “six-star hotel”.

She said: “I have so much to tell of how brilliantly the staff worked as a team to care for each individual. All staff gave of their best in spite of the daily difficulties they face. I was truly amazed and one could not wish for more.”

Now, Miss Latimer has written a letter about her experience, printed below in full - but she would also like to ensure it arrives in front of governmental figures, including prime minister, Theresa May.

She said “I want to encourage people at all levels of government to act now, by injecting resources into the NHS, to maintain excellence, stay in the lead and keep pace with advancing changes.”

Miss Latimer’s letter

I am writing to encourage and commend all Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital staff. This is a stroke patient’s point of view, I was hospitalised for the very first time aged 74 between October 30 and November 10 last year.

Thank you for this privileged opportunity to observe hospital life from within, an experience that would not be possible any other way.

From the swift ambulance, reassuring paramedics, perceptive fast decisions of A&E doctors and medics, ward doctors and nurses, scanning clinicians, speech, physio and occupational therapists, caterers, cleaners, admin, reception staff through to discharge. A professional, congenial, amazing team. A plain thank you seems insufficient, hence the following.

I observed understanding, patience, compassion, encouragement and kindness shown to all, each cheerfully going the extra mile, communicating with sensitivity and ease, particularly whilst attending to the most vulnerable and challenging people.

The National Health Service is preserved only by the dedication of a skilled, efficient workforce of people such as this. Undergirding and upholding the foundations of all medical networks. Years of discipline, training, experience, investment and long working hours, weaving strong safety nets to meet each persons need, at some point, during their lifetime.

High standards deserve public and government funding to sustain developing changes.

Clearly, most are called, chosen and equipped to fulfil these vital roles, each drawn to specific areas suited to their talents and lifestyles, working together as one body.

The following are a few names I was able to note at the time, apologies to all the other beautiful people, who are nevertheless remembered by their attributes and actions.

Credits to Dr Sutton, Professor Potter, Dr Balami, nurse Nuno, nurse Helena, nurse Renato, nurse Cecilia, speech therapist Sian, caterers Beverly and Aaron, cleaner Jakub, and cleaner Sharon - who twice daily cleaned every ledge and corner and spoke through her eyes and gentle smile.

With gratitude to each member of staff working to preserve life with caring professionalism.

May you all be blessed with abundant peace and fullness of life.

• What is your experience of the region’s NHS? Email

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